Breathing to Come Present

Whether in yoga asana, meditation, or pranayama practices, breathing can play a powerful role in reducing stress, providing invigorating energy, fortifying concentration skills, and most importantly, allowing our awareness to bring us to the present. Physically, breath awareness and breathing exercises have a preventative capacity: improving lung capacity, strengthening cardiorespiratory function, providing more oxygen to the cells of the body and decreasing sympathethic drive/increasing parasympathetic responses, thus relieving stress by quieting the nervous system.  The latter lends itself to the quieting of the mind and the stress release that comes from stilling the mind by giving it a “one-pointed focus.”  Equally breath awareness is effective in restorative ways too, in all three areas of yogic interest: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Again, this is due to the one-pointed direction of our awareness when we focus our mind on our breath.

 

Breathing usually is an involuntary response, and dictated by cells that react to blood gas levels.  Sometimes, there is an overdrive of that mechanism with regard to emotion driving the breath response.  This is also involuntary. Typically we live with shallow breathing, in the anterior lobe of the lungs, with a sitting/stooping/haunched posture that constricts the lungs, and affects posture, mood, and outlook. On average, a human breathes 21,000+ breaths/day.  Cardiovascular, digestive and elimination processes of the body are for the most part involuntary too.  But of all the involuntary processes, breathing is the only one that can be affected voluntarily. We can take poor breathing habits and improve the quality of our breath, thus improving the quality of our life.

 

Consider the factors that effect breath in a negative way:  stress, illness (both chronic and acute), prolonged sitting, tight muscles, poor cardio-respiratory capacity, pain, fear, insomnia, bad posture, … all of these influence links between body, mind and spirit.  Many of these are connected to habits that exist outside our awareness. That is why a comprehensive yoga practice emphasizes improving the quality of breath by incorporating pranayamas, or breathing exercises and using them with the various limbs of the practice to include asana, meditation, concentration, and ultimately how we use yoga to evolve spiritually. It is the tuning in that begins with physical awareness and that then becomes a deeper learning of self and that understanding can help us in so many ways to live in a more meaningful and satisfied way.  We can pay attention to transform irregular, jerky or harried breathing into smooth, deep, controlled breathing. This transforms to a more resilient respiratory system, a body energized with enhanced oxygen delivery, and overall better function of the systems of the body.  In turn this translates to empowering us with clarity, patience, self control and confidence that comes from using pranayamas in yoga practices to build awareness.

 

Let’s learn to use the “box breath.”  Sit comfortably on a yoga blanket, or meditation cushion in Sukhasana, with legs crossed and with support against the back body (sit against the wall).  Rest the hands on the knees/thighs. Close your eyes and tune into your breath. Feel the “held tension” connected to your habits of how you hold yourself and with each exhalation, let go of these subtle tensions that do not serve you. All the while notice the deepening of your breath.  Once you have maintained slow deep breathing for a few minutes, you have helped the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles between the ribs to stretch. They have “warmed up” to your breathing exercise. Then begin to add retention at the top of the breath and at the bottom of the breath.  Use a rate of 1:1:1:1.  Try counting to 4 in each place.  As you become more proficient in deepening your breath, increase your count.  Then begin to “notice what you notice” as your awareness skills become refined in a breathing exercise that becomes more and more familiar.  One interesting aspect is what you notice once you have finished with the regulating of the 4 areas: inhalation, retention, exhalation, retention. What is the body inclined to do once that part of the pranayama is completed.  Sit and observe the tendency of your body. What do you notice at this phase? Observe without judgment.

 

Learn to tap into this remarkable resource of breath awareness, at any time, as consciously regulating breath is always available to you.  As with any other practice, consistency makes a great difference to maximizing on the many benefits!

 

Yoga poses for your breathing practices:  Typically pranayamas are practiced while sitting in Sukhasana, “Happy” or “Easy “ pose.  New students are taught Viloma I as a supported, reclined pranayama to learn how to tune into the various segments of the breath cycle, the qualities of breath, the building of retention, and of inner awareness. Ujaai is practiced during active asana poses, and helps to build stamina and resilience of the respiratory and muscular systems of the body.  Want to learn more?  Purchase your copy of Essential Yoga Practice here.  And, consider taking our Essential Yoga Sangha two-week online course, to deepen your practice and learn more about how to use these pranayamas – our next course is July 2018.  Follow our social media for dialy inspiration and chance to win in our monthly giveaways!

 

Aromatherapy suggestions for your breath awareness practices: 

To eliminate airborne pathogens and allow the respiratory system a cleaner environment, consider using citrus oils, not only do they have antiviral properties, they are known to improve mood.  Whether you choose to use a few drops on a cotton ball and place in a well ventilated area, or use a diffuser that will mist the essential oils more efficiently throughout a room, or create a blend with water in an atomizer, it is a wonderful way to decrease toxic load on the body’s most direct route  to being affected by the environment: inhalation. In addition, consider using oils that boost memory, clarity and focus, in order to enhance the value to your breath work practice. Rosemary helps support memory and focus, peppermint and spearmint wake up the central nervous system, and, marjoram, chamomile and lavender calm the nervous system which counters stress.  Keep in mind that the effect of certain aromas are unique to each of us considering the many factors in our own history.  Experiment with essential oils and blends that are calming and uplifting. Along the way, these gifts of the earth, if they are pure an unadulterated, will all serve to bring the mind present, and therein lies the real value of using aromatherapy with breath work, the profound opportunity to grow and evolve that lies within our reach when we are set up to use the clarity that comes when are indeed present!  Enjoy your practice - Namaste!

Connect with Mother Earth

Ways … and Why… to Connect with Nature

There are major energetic and scientific reasons to connect with nature on a regular basis. The scientific reasons include exposing ourselves to rich and vibrant living organisms and the way they impact us on a cellular level. Leading nutritionists and lifestyle coaches encourage their students to spend at least 1 hour a day outside connecting with nature as STEP #1 to getting back to living a healthy lifestyle. The fact is, we don’t really need lots of scientific evidence to convince us to reconnect with nature, do we? We all know it’s a major power source for vibrancy and vitality. So ask yourself? When was the last time you really connected to nature? When did you spend a whole hour outside breathing in fresh air, lifting your face to the sunshine, digging your bare feet into the earth, noticing the delicate and miraculous details all around you? How about even intentionally spending 15 minutes outside (walking between your house and the car doesn’t count!)

Try one of these things:

1.     Find a quiet place outside and sit down. Close your eyes, and think about the ground beneath you. Consider the texture, the temperature, the energy of the thriving earth below you. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Focus on your breath. Pay attention to how it inflates your lungs. Think about expanding your diaphragm in and out so you are belly-breathing. Let the energy in the air fill your body with life. Listen to  the sounds around you. Maybe you hear some leaves blowing in the breeze, or birds singing.  Sit in gratitude that Mother Earth is holding you, supporting you, as she always does. We just need to focus on that and recognize it more often.

2.     Focus on the powerful energy of the earth. Think of how the earth shows her power through lightening, thunder, earthquakes, tornadoes, waves, hurricanes, etc. Picture making space inside of you to inhale and absorb this energy. Pranayama , breathing exercises, in yoga provide us that accessibility, both physically and emotionally.  Picture your cells feeling the thrum of this power, and harnessing it to fulfill their specific jobs that they carry out inside your body. Stand tall and reach your hands to the sky, in Urdhva Hastasana, Volcano Pose, opening your chest and own your space here on earth. Practice yoga asana outside and note the difference in the energy of your poses as well as the transitions between them. These powerful displays of energy are around you and in you. What will you create with this new (or rediscovered) power?

3.     Get rejuvenated with water. When you have some time available, enter a pool or other body of water. The ocean or a lake is rejuvenating and alive with aquatic life. If you are able to get to a natural hot springs, this might be the most delicious water experience you’ve ever had … No matter which option you choose, allow yourself to feel the water holding you and supporting you. You can float, you can run in slow motion, you can submerge yourself completely. There is something comforting about water … when you are in warmer water, such as a hot springs, you can literally picture Mother Earth holding you in the most nurturing way, as a Mother does a Child. Notice how restored you feel when you are done.

Using essential oils during any of these processes (and any others you like that help you connect to nature) can greatly magnify your experience. Choose oils that help you relax and get grounded, such as a grounding blend or soothing blend. You can also opt for an invigorating oil such as peppermint, or a respiratory blend to help you breathe deeply.

We’d love to hear about your experience in connecting to nature … did one of these suggestions resonate with you, or do you have another way of connecting? What oil did you use, and how to you think it contributed to your overall experience?

Watch for our Essential Yoga Sangha coming this summer to learn more great tips on the synergistic benefits of yoga and essential oils.

Cleanliness

In the second of Patanjali’s eight-limbed path of yoga, Saucha is the first “Niyama,” the first of the disciplines.  Saucha means cleanliness or purity.  The first lim, the Yamas, or “Disciplines,”  bring us closer to truth by teaching us moral virtues from the reference point of our relationships with others.  The Niyamas on the other hand direct us with understanding that along the way of our yogic journey, the path to enlightenment is our own individual work.  Interestingly enough, the concept of saucha must begin with self-love, thus self-care: purity of body, mind and spirit.

In the practice of purification and cleanliness we can find many avenues:  asana  works to cleanse the body of toxins from the twists and folds, pranayama works to cleanse the body of toxins using breathwork to  accompany asana transitions or when done in meditation, and the kriyas like Sun Salutations done with rote memory to quiet the mind while building resilience in the body. Other Kriyas exist in Ayurveda there is detoxification that comes from Sat-karma-kriyas and from pancha karma, which include body massage techniques. All are physical purifications designed to maintain the healthy function of the systems of the body as well as to help rid the body of disease.

 In our intention to purify the body, we must become intimate with the parts that we do not like to focus on:  Sweat, mucous, bile,  … But these are the natural ways that the body rids itself of impurities, so as to maintain ideal function. With healthy function, the mind can focus on the spiritual journey that is the evolution of our lifetime. Saucha shows us that the lotus grows out of the muddy waters, and thus we must give attention to all the murky areas of our mental and spiritual growth. Along the way we learn to not judge, ourselves nor others. Our body is a temple. We must embrace all the parts in effort to set judgment aside. The lotus of our being blooms more radiantly when we accept ourselves, mud and all, and pay attention to the lessons the body hints at. Yoga is a great comprehensive tool.  Using all of the limbs of the practice, we arrive at realizing that purity is there all along, all we have to do is uncover what we have masked it with.

How to Practice Saucha:

1. Take care of your body:  Eat well, sleep sufficiently, strengthen all the relationships that define healthy movement (exercise, yoga asana).

2.  Live, work and sleep in a clean environment.  Being organized allows the mind to quiet and decreasing toxic load allows the systems of the body to function effectively, thus not inviting disease.

3.  Love who you are – a most unique individual, with a great dharma – enjoy your yogic journey to understand your true calling and then enjoy doing just that, showing the world who you are with your gifts and how you effect positive change.

4.   Get out in nature! Breathe fresh air, enjoy aromatherapy!

5.  Be present every day to what arrives in front of you – there is a reason and a lesson and it is connected to an opportunity to evolve.

Poses to practice:  Inversions and their preparations.  They give you a different perspective of the world, sharpen your awareness. Aromatherapy to consider:  Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro, Peppermint, and all the Citrus oils!

 

 

Awareness

During the month of May we’ll be focusing on ways we can connect/ re-connect to the earth, which is a powerful source of renewal for us.

This week let’s talk about awareness of what is happening in us and all around us, and how that can serve us. What does awareness have to do with connecting to the earth? Well, science has proven that the earth is full of magnetic and energy fields. What may look to us as ‘empty space’ really contains countless atoms and molecules that are carrying messages to us and away from us on an energetic level. As we become more tuned in to ourselves and all that is around us, we can navigate our earth experience much more effectively.

The first level of awareness might be the physical sensations we feel in our own bodies…when you plug both ears you hear a rushing sound similar to the ocean, as we become familiar with the sounds of our own cardiovascular system. Or when you close your eyes during daylight hours and you still see outlines of images and a reddish hue. After a strong workout when our muscles feel shaky but our lungs feel clear. There is something renewing about paying attention to these types of sensations that helps us feel more fully present in our own skin.

Another level of awareness has to do with expanding our sense of vision. How many times do we take our sight for granted. We see what we see. But have you ever paid particular attention to what is on the very edges of your vision, to your peripheral vision. This is actually a skill that can be developed that will help you be far more aware of what is around you. Practice extending your awareness to include what is just past what you can clearly see in your line of vision (up, down and sides). Does this extended awareness make you feel that perhaps there is a ‘sixth’ sense out there that can magnify our existing senses? (We’d actually love to hear your thoughts when you try this out, post on our facebook page..)

We can also choose to “listen to the listening,” which is when we hone our ability to accurately perceive the mood that exists in a room when we enter it, or sense the mood that another person is experiencing before even starting a conversation. As children, many of us were aware of when we should ask our parents for extra money or a chance to participate in a social situation based on their mood. Why then, as adults, do we tend to plunge into a conversation with someone without pausing a few seconds to sense the emotion that is charging all around us. Challenge: sometime today or tomorrow, pause a few times as you enter a room and identify to yourself the mood you feel as you enter. Not only will this increase your ability to navigate social situations around you, but it will also help you come to know and trust your own intuition.

Yoga and essential oils are phenomenal tools that can help us increase and hone our awareness. Through pranayama (breath work), asana (poses), meditation, sound therapy and more, we learn to sit in a more quiet space that helps us better connect with our mind, spirit and body. We are able to extend our awareness outside of ourselves until our expansion reaches levels we never dreamed of ‘holding’ in our own personal space. It’s really a beautiful experience when we find a pose or meditation or any specific practice that helps our heart and spirit soar in this way. Reflect on the first time you felt this sense of wonder when you participated in a branch of yoga.

Essential oils can physically and spiritually/mentally help expand our awareness. The powerful combination of peppermint and frankincense impact the limbic center of the brain in a way that we are able to make connections in reasoning and memory that we might not otherwise be able to make. Wild orange, lime, lemon and other citrus oils impact us energetically to provide a pick-me-up during the late afternoon slump but can also calm and soothe in the evening to help us with proper rest. Aromatic use of pure and potent essential oils can support us emotionally in powerful ways in addition to impacting focus.

And of course, as we well know, the combination of essential oils with yoga brings about a synergistically powerful experience. Let us know what poses and essential oils you like for deepening your awareness as a whole.

Post to our social media page(s) to let us know your favorite way(s) to expand your influence. Join us July 16th for our Essential Yoga Sangha for tips on how to combine essential oils with yoga for powerful results. The Sangha was uniquely created to be perfect for newbies to both yoga and aromatherapy, but has a component for yoga teachers that provides CE credits.

Detox - Twists and Folds

As we continue with the topic of spring cleaning and detoxification, the Essential Yoga Practice blogpost this week is a yoga practice video, a mini-practice of poses.  This combination of twists and folds allow the release of tension and negative energy as well as a way to enhance the body’s digestive system and flush out what “we don’t need to hold on to.” Remember that before and after movement/exercise, it is important to hydrate, so drink water infused with a drop of lemon or grapefruit essential oil as citrus oils help to cleanse the digestive tract. If you cannot practice outdoors in the fresh air, consider the aromatherapy of energizing peppermint essential oil to bring your attention present to your practice.  Any essential oil that is grounding or energizing will work here. Note there are options/variations of the poses in this short practice. You will need yoga blocks or some books), a yoga strap if you cannot reach your foot or to hook the hands, and a yoga blanket to allow a slight elevation of your seated posture, so as to ensure neutral lumbar curve when possible.

 

Share (tag 2 friends) (retweet) and comment to be considered for our monthly giveaway, a bottle of peppermint essential oil! Show us a picture of your practice to increase your chance of winning. Enjoy your practice!

Reducing Our Toxic Load

As we continue our detoxification and purification theme this month, let’s talk about the importance of reducing our toxic load. We’ve talked at length about plants and their cleansing properties, how they can support our efforts to rid our bodies of unwanted toxins. But let’s ask ourselves … what is the point in cleansing our systems of existing toxins if we don’t do anything to reduce the toxic load we keep adding?

 

Some of the key toxins that can impact our bodies come from chemicals we bring into our own homes in our cleaning products. Interestingly, our bodies have an amazing system of defense whenever we ingest something that might harm us. However, we are at risk when our bodies absorb chemicals aromatically and/or through the skin, which is exactly what happens when we use typical cleaning chemicals.

 

Pure essential oils are part of effective and safe natural cleaners that can not only serve to organically clean your mat and yoga studio…they work equally well in homes and cars. Below are some recipes we’d like to pass on so you can put together toxin and chemical-free cleaning supplies for your home. When you replace toxic cleaning supplies with these, you can reduce the toxins in your system (so you won’t have to deal with them later on).

 

Yoga Mat Spray

·      ¾ cup distilled water

·      ¼ cup alcohol-free witch hazel or white vinegar

·      5 drops lavender essential oil

·      3 drops melaleuca essential oil

·      Glass spray bottle

Combine all ingredients in glass spray bottle, shake until combined. Spray on mat and wipe dry with towel.

 

All-Purpose Cleaner

·      2 cups white vinegar

·      2 cups water

·      1 teaspoon natural dish soap

·      30 drops lemon essential oil

·      20 drops lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine. Spray and wipe on surfaces.

 

Glass Cleaner

·      3 cups distilled water

·      ¼ cup rubbing alcohol

·      ¼ cup white vinegar

·      20 drops melaleuca essential oil

Mix ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine, spray on windows, mirrors or stainless steel. Wipe off with paper towels for a great shine.

 

Stove and Sink Cleaner

·      1 cup baking soda

·      ¼ cup liquid castile soap

·      10 drops lemon essential oil

·      10 drops lime essential oils

·      10 drops wild orange essential oil

Mix ingredients together to form a paste (adding more castile if needed). Apply with rag or sponge then rinse with clean water.

 

Tub and Shower Gel

·      1 cup white vinegar

·      ½ cup natural dishwashing soap

·      Squeeze bottle

Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan on the stove until hot but not boiling. Stir in the dishwashing soap until combined, then pour into the squeeze bottle. Squirt onto shower and tub, and allow to sit for 1-3 hours. Wipe off with a scrubber, rag and/or sponge.

 

Fresh Linen Spray

·      ¼ cup distilled water

·      3 T witch hazel

·      20 drops lavender essential oil

·      15 drops frankincense essential oil

Add all ingredients to a small spritzer, shake well, and spray on sheets, piloowcases and linens.

 

Goo, Crayon & Marker Remover

·      Lemon essential oil

·      1-2 T fractionated coconut oil.

Mix together, then apply directly to sticker residue, random goo, gum, crayon marks, marker etc. (Suggestion: test in an inconspicuous place first). Rub in with fingers, then wipe away with a clean rag. Repeat as needed.

 

Citrus Carpet Refresher

·      1 cup baking soda

·      30 drops citrus oil of your choice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime)

Combine in a small container and cover tightly with a lid. Shake well and allow to sit for 6-8 hours. Sprinkle on stale or smelly carpet and allow to sit overnight. Vacuum the next morning.

 

Shower Spray

·      1 ½ cups water

·      1 cup white vinegar

·      ½ cup rubbing alcohol

·      1 t natural liquid dish soap

·      10 drops melaleuca essential oil

·      20 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Combine in a quart-sized spray bottle. Spray daily on shower door and walls after use to help prevent build-up.

 

Refrigerator and Microwave Cleaner

·      1 cup white vinegar

·      2 cups hot water

·      15 drops lemon essential oil

Combine ingredients in glass spray bottle. Spray mixture inside fridge or microwave, then scrub and wipe using a damp cloth.

 

Soft Scrub for Bath, Tile and Toilet

·      ¾ rounded cup baking soda

·      ¼ cup unscented liquid castile soap

·      1 T water

·      1 T white vinegar

·      10 drops lemon essential oil

Yield: 2-4 applications. Make in small batches and store in an airtight container. Combine baking soda and castile soap, add water and stir. Add vinegar and essential oil. The consistency should be a soft paste. Apply and let sit for 5-10 minutes and scrub to help get rid of soap scum, remove stains and brighten tiles.

 

Natural Wood Polish

·      ¼ cup olive oil

·      ¼ c vinegar

·      10 drops of lemon, orange or arborvitae essential oil

Add olive oil and vinegar to glass spray bottle. Add 10 drops of essential oil. Shake well before each use. Apply to microfiber cloth and wipe wood surfaces clean. Repeat every 2-3 months or as often as needed.

 

 

We'd love to hear about your successes with detoxing your environment!

 

And....in honor of earth day, we're doing a special giveaway. Take a picture of yourself doing ANY yoga pose outside and barefoot (connecting with the earth), and everyone who posts will be entered into a drawing to win a 5ml bottle of a beautiful grounding and centering essential oil blend.

10 Essential Steps to Saucha in your Yoga Practice

The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two of the 8 limbs of Astanga Yoga.  The Yamas are the “Restraints,” or “Ethical Principles” and define living with integrity in our relationships with our world. The Niyamas are the “Disciplines,” and define our relationship with our true self as we evolve along life’s journey.   

 

Saucha is the first Niyama, and translated from Sanskrit, means “purity” or “cleanliness.”  This applies to purity of mind, body and spirit. We can apply saucha in many aspects of our yoga practice.  Initially, we can take the meaning literally, as saucha directs us to create order, to be clean and tidy, and to declutter/simplify our lives physically. If we live simply, we can minimize distractions and focus on being present, think with clarity, and begin to understand what is in front of us. Physically we can use our asana and pranayama practices to detoxify the body, we can take direction from Ayurveda to eat and sleep and massage with herbs and oils, and use aromatherapy to align with our constitution for the sake of wellness practices. We can purify the mind with meditation, directed focus and self-study.  We can refine our spiritual practice with study of scriptures and intention of devotion to our higher power. 

 

However, once we begin to deepen our practices, the ultimate path to enlightenment, to Samadhi, is one we journey alone.  In order to succeed, the underlying work is to begin with self-love.  This means embracing the parts of our self that we find messy. Examine the parts of yourself that you might not like, and see them for what they are: clues to the “stuck places.” Herein lies a great opportunity to learn what your body, mind and spirit have to teach you. 

 

In this spring time of year, when we reexamine the season that reminds us of renewal, here are a few suggestion on how to embrace life’s challenges from the perspective of Saucha. Recognize that in order to make forward progress we must accept, without judgment that we are all equally holy, that all of life is sacred, and that our true essence is pure.

 

1.  Start by taking care of the body. Practice twisting poses to detoxify the organs and release tension along the spine and back body. 

2.  Love every part of you! 

3.  Be present, build awareness.  Suggestion: use aromatherapy to stay focused using essential oils like rosemary as it supports cognition. 

4.  Use setting intentions to grow and cultivate new healthy habits. 

5.  Use this Niyama literally:  keep a clean and tidy home and work environment. 

6.  Use essential oils to create pure cleaning agents.  Example: a spray bottle with 3 parts water, 1 part vinegar, and 6 to 10 drops of tea tree oil, pine essential oil, or any citrus oil (antiviral agent) will be effective and refreshing. 

7.  Use mudras in your yoga practice, both in asana and in meditation, they affect the energy body.  Example: Lotus mudra is a reminder that a beautiful flower emerges from the muddy waters. Place a drop of an essential oil that is refreshing like peppermint or lemon, in your hands in this mudra, and use as a personal diffuser. 

8. Don’t judge or chastise yourself for non-yogic behaviors or deterred steps. We are all only human and the object is to learn and to evolve. 

9.  Love who you are and let the spark of divinity within you shine. It is only then that the true, pure part of you can lead you forward.

10.  Be patient with yourself. All aspects of yoga practice require patience. 

 

 Want to win our monthly giveaway? Comment and share – April’s giveaway is a bottle of peppermint essential oil! 

Plants and Detox

In this season of spring cleaning, have you ever considered cleaning of YOU? The toxic load that some of us carry around inside us can be overwhelming to our vital organs, specifically to our liver and kidneys – the organs in charge of detoxification.  Our skin, colon and lungs also play a part in keeping us clear. Because of environmental toxins we breathe in, toxins in the processed and fast foods we eat, even the toxins that we absorb through our skin via personal care products, our bodies can really struggle under the heavy toxic load.

Plants are natural cleansers….they even detox the air! They are programmed to ‘inhale’ and utilize carbon dioxide and leave in its place life-giving oxygen. Essential oils, the aromatic part of plants, can likewise be powerful cleansers as well:

·         Arborvitae is a powerful cleansing and purifying agent. Use it to purify the air, it naturally repels insects. You can add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on surfaces or hands for a protecting solution. 

·         Basil has cleansing properties, and helps to support healthy blood flow. It supports gastrointestinal health and function, and helps reduce gas.

·         Bergamot's also has cleansing properties, and helps support a healthy nervous system, cardiovascular system and cognitive function. 

·         Black Pepper has topical cleansing properties, and contains important antioxidants. 

·         Cassia has strong surface cleansing properties and may help support the health of the liver, kidneys and urinary tract.

·         Cedarwood, cypress, petitgrain and myrrh have surface cleansing properties, 

·         Cilantro has a cleansing and detoxifying effect when used internally (use 1-2 drops of pure, internal-grade cilantro in a capsule)

·         Frankincense and coriander help support the health of the liver.

·         Douglas Fir and thyme are cleansing and purifying to the skin.

·         Helichrysum has internal cleansing properties.

·         Juniper Berry supports healthy kidney and urinary tract function, and has internal cleansing properties.

·         Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces, naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion, and promotes healthy functioning of the GI tract.

·         Lime is often used as an internal cleanser, it helps cleanse the air, it may support the health of the colon.

·         Oregano, tangerine and wild orange are powerful cleansing and purifying agents.

 

Combine these oils with your detoxification yoga sequences and twists, (from our book and DVD, Essential Yoga Practice) and experience some powerful results!  Want to learn even more?  Sign up for our fun, interactive, online 2 week course,  Essential Yoga Sangha !  Next course begins April 9; for completing additional coursework, yoga teachers can earn 10 CECs from Yoga Alliance. Comment, share and retweet our social media to be eligible to win the oils for our Sangha course …who’s ready for some spring cleaning now?!!

5 Ways to Use Yoga to Embrace Change

Staying focused in the present moment is a useful skill to have in this busy world. Many tools in yoga help us to “calm the fluctuations of the mind,” as Patanjali points out in the Yoga Sutras. However that might not be yoga's most important lesson. What is in front of us is constantly changing, and we are constantly changing. This is the concept of impermanence, the temporary nature of all things.

 

The teachings of Samkhya, an ancient Indian philosophy, is foundational to the spiritual aspect of contemporary yoga practice and teaches that the reality of life is divided into:

     1. prakriti, or matter, which is impermanent, solid, and continually changing form, and

     2. purusha, which is eternal, unchanging, unknowable, yet present in all things.

Our deepening yoga practice allows us to tune inward as we quiet the chatter of the mind, allow the purusha to become evident and understood, thus to observe changing reality in its true nature. Sometimes we are discouraged by change since we want to drive and control it.  Yet this can also be very freeing as our practice can lead us to view change with acceptance, recognizing that what we are also changing is ourself, our reaction to change. Being attached to things staying the same is what causes our suffering – change is inevitable. Adjusting how we accept and react is how we get to evolve and appreciate all of life’s lessons. The physical world, including our own bodies, is filled with impermanence. The lessons lie in the willingness to accept change, and furthermore to embrace the opportunities that change brings, so that we can enjoy what unfolds before us. The requirement is learning to be present. It all comes full circle. Yogic tools that can help us to adapt and to embrace change:

1.  Meditation is not about tuning out, but about becoming present.  The fruit of the efforts:  being able to face reality with acceptance and constructive intention and proactive energy. 

 

2.  Using mantra to come present using a repeated word, sound, affirmation, prayer, intention,.. is another way to use a one-pointed focus to help the mind become free of distractions, and thus invite clarity.

3.  Sound healing using chanting, music, singing bowls, …all have a vibrational aspect which helps to create space, and invite healing

4.  Asana practice – Many new yogis use asana practice to gain strength, flexibility and balance, hence, to change/improve their bodies.

5.  Aromatherapy using essential oils and herbs that wake up the  mind and help with focus.  Great choices are peppermint, tree oils like white fir, cedarwood, spruce, vetiver, and frankincense.

Ready to learn more?  Our Book, Essential Yoga Practice:  Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils, and DVD, offer great education and a chance to practice 6 sequences, to include a Strengthening sequence! Ready to delve a bit deeper?  Our 2 week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, begins April 1.  This fun and interactive and comes with essential oils delivered to you!  Yoga teachers will add a study segment to receive 10 CECs with Yoga Alliance! Sign up by March 28 to receive your oils for free! 

Happy Spring Equinox!

Happy Spring Equinox, the first day of Spring! As we are transitioning from winter into spring, it is good to acknowledge that spring brings with it a new energy. This is the season traditionally linked with rebirth, renewing and replenishing – and it is a refreshing time of the year as we move forward.

So how do we best harness the new energy that spring brings?

1.       Self care is always a good place to start. When we do the basics, such as getting enough sleep, water, nutrition and exercise, we automatically uplevel our ability to discern our place in our environment. Our mind is clearer, our heart is freer, and we generally experience a heightened sense of happiness and satisfaction.

2.       Aromatherapy is an effective way to harness change – put the tried and true chemical nature of essential oils to work on behalf of your brain and sense of well-being. Some oils that are particularly supportive to supporting change or transition are rosemary, detoxification blend (includes frankincense, wild orange, lemongrass, thyme, summer savory and niaouli), cilantro and frankincense

3.       Yoga is another way we can support ourselves. When we are addressing change, detoxification sequences help us usher out the old to make room for the new.

Together these supports will help you to have more clarity and perspective, to step back and see what’s in front of you so change improves you rather than getting the best of you.

 

Ready for more?  Our Book, Essential Yoga Practice:  Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils, and DVD, offer great education and a chance to practice 6 sequences, to include a Detoxification sequence too! Ready to delve a bit deeper?  Our 2 week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, begins April 9.  This fun and interactive and comes with essential oils delivered to you!  Yoga teachers will add a study segment to receive 10 CECs with Yoga Alliance! Sign up by March 28 to receive your oils for free!